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Festival features worldly activities, music

With children’s games and art, music, dancing, singing, exotic costumes, jewelry displays, free food sampling, genealogy, history, prizes, martial arts and belly dancing, there surely will be something for everyone at the 11th annual World on the Square family festival in Corydon on Saturday from 4 to 8 p.m. (In case of rain, the festival will move indoors at Corydon Central High School.)
The free festival celebrates diversity and promotes intercultural understanding. It’s expected to draw more than 1,000 people, represent 20 to 30 countries and/or ethnic groups and provide samples of food from around the globe.
This year’s entertainment on the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand will include a Latin salsa band, belly dancing, creative Italian string music, a Scottish bagpiper, a Vietnamese lion dance team and tae kwon do demonstrations.
One of the more popular features of the festival is all kinds of food ‘ free food ‘ based on international recipes. Elizabeth Cato is the veteran mastermind behind ‘Taste of the World.’ Last year, it attracted 700 to 800 folks into the basement of Corydon United Methodist Church.
All the taste treats are donated by individuals, families, local restaurants and three nursing homes. Farmers Market organizer Charles Hambley provides vegetables that Cato cooks to supplement the entrees. Sampling ‘ remember, it’s not dinner! ‘ will begin at 4 p.m. There will be a basket for donations in case people want to support WOTS financially.
Some festival events are designed specifically for children.
Dr. Claudia Crump of New Albany, a Southern Indiana educator, has planned two features: Children’s Games, and Eating and Greeting Around the World. A retired professor from Indiana University Southeast, Crump, 80, has visited more than 40 countries and is an expert on children’s games and etiquette.
Children will learn about other countries by tossing inflatable plastic globes to each other; where the right index finger lands will determine the course of the conversation: Where are you? What games are played in that country? Did you know that dominoes and jakestraws originated in China? Rock, paper and scissors came from Japan? The ancient board game Mencala is from Egypt?
As the kids finish a game, they can fill out slips of paper for a drawing between entertainment acts on the gazebo.
Children also will learn how kids elsewhere eat and greet each other. For instance, they will try to use chopsticks (they won’t eat rice but will see if they can pick up packing popcorn).
There is method in Crump’s madness. She hopes that local elementary schoolteachers might stop by and be encouraged to try out one of the 100 ‘Culture Kits’ that the Center for Cultural Resources at IUS makes available for the classroom.
Children and adults can get ‘passports’ when they arrive at the town square, take them to the various booths and exhibitions, ask some questions and get their passports stamped. They can keep their passport (in Spanish or English) and get a souvenir.
Brenda Logan of Corydon, a professional artist and sculptor, is in charge of Children’s Art. Children age 3 to 11 can practice writing words (please, thank you, peace, harmony, I love you, together, etc.) in different languages then write them on a banner. The kids will have their pictures taken with the banner and sign their names on the back. The banner will be displayed on the town square and possibly later at IUS and elsewhere in the United States, ‘like a peace offering from Corydon, Ind.,’ said WOTS chairperson Carolyn Beanblossom, a retired nurse from Central. She said it’s one way for children to ‘spread peace and goodwill.’
Crump said, ‘Community Unity has done the best job of any group that I know of in raising awareness and making ethnic groups proud of who they are and being part of the community.’
WOTS is sponsored and organized by Community Unity, a local nonprofit group formed in 2000.
Here’s the schedule for entertainment on the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand:
3:55 to 4:10 p.m. ‘ Scottish Bagpiper David Stewart, 74, of Louisville who grew up on River Hill Farm and graduated from Elizabeth High School in 1953. He plays a repertoire on the pipes: Scottish tunes, a medley of state songs, ‘Rocky Top’ for the cloggers, a hymn medley and, perhaps, some country music. He will wear his Stewart Royal kilt made by his wife, Martha (not that Martha.) Stewart now plays with the Louisville Fire and Rescue Pipes and Drums.
4:10 to 5:05 p.m. ‘ Al Hamsa Belly Dancers from New Albany. Professional Middle Eastern dancer and teacher Raqia (Rachel Reich), Maharet (Karen Bassett) and Fairoza (Traci Kruer) will perform a variety of dances from the Greek, gypsy, Turkish, Spanish and Egyptian cultures. The dances ‘vary slightly in costume and expression, but one pours over into the other,’ Raqia said. The three professional dancers will be joined by three advanced students called ‘Raqia’s Stars.’
5:05 to 5:35 p.m. ‘ Tae Kwon Do with Grand Master Young Sik Choi (pronounced chee) and Rick Haines of Harrison County Tae Kwon Do School in Lanesville. Choi and Haines will bring 15 to 20 students age 7 and older in white uniforms called doboks and ask them to show their techniques and perhaps break boards. The doboks are tied twice around the waist, Haines said, ‘to tie your mind and body together.’ Haines said he wouldn’t be surprised if Choi, now in his mid-70s, kicks an apple off a ‘scalpel-sharp’ sword.
5:35 to 6:30 p.m. ‘ Il Troubadore. Two modern-day minstrels, Jon Silpayamanant (he’s part Thai) and Robert Bruce Scott (he’s Scottish) play just about any kind of Italian music, from the Middle Ages to now, on the mandolin and cello. They have played in venues from Louisville to Indianapolis. They used to be known as ‘Indy’s 16th century rock band.’ Scott is a classically trained vocalist (he can sing in more than 30 languages), and Silpayamanant is a classically trained cellist. They are songwriters, too.
6:30 to 6:40 p.m. ‘ Louisville Lion Dance Team. Ryan Ho, 27, a computer engineer who is about to complete his MBA degree at IUS, will bring his brightly-colored, two-man lion act to Corydon. The fearsome-looking Vietnamese-style creature with the massive head, teeth and eyes has made many appearances at programs at Thich Hang Dat’s Buddhist monastery and retreat center west of Corydon.
6:40 to 7:50 p.m. ‘ The Salsa Rhythms Band. One of the hottest Latin bands in the Louisville area, Xavier Santiago’s Salsa Rhythms Band generates energy and excitement. ‘We’ll basically get the crowd moving,’ Santiago, 23, said. The band consists of professional musicians, including a lead vocalist, two choristers, a full rhythm percussion section and a two-piece horn section. Bring your dancing shoes because they will show you how to dance the salsa, merengue, cha-cha-cha and who knows what else. The show-stopper is Santiago’s 4-year-old son, Yariel, playing several percussion instruments. ‘He’s the highlight of the show,” said his dad, who is a State Farm Insurance agent when he’s not playing Latin music.
7:50 p.m. ‘ Drawings for door prizes.